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Old 08-27-2016, 05:44 PM   #1
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USB port/Power port project

It was interesting that GM supplied two power ports and even a 110VAC port (while the engine is running) in the dash, plus lots of other locations for accessories. We found the power port on the right was in the way of the passenger when exiting the seat if a usb adapter was plugged in.

Not having any built in usb ports, I searched and found some ports that were designed for boat use - but very serviceable for RV use as well. I purchased one in red and two with a small blue light with the intent of putting the red one in the dash, and the blue ones elsewhere but decided I wanted 4 ports up front. I may get another red one and replace the blue.

While driving at night, blue is the worst color to have on or around the dash.

Note that usb ports have a parasitic draw, so if you want your chassis battery to be run flat, these need a shutoff switch.

Here's the completed project with all ports closed and power off:



And the setup powered on and the port covers opened:



The factory power plug was in the extreme right position; I moved it to the left one spot and installed the red usb port in that location. I also moved the 110VAC plug to the left one position, and installed a second 1" RAM mount ball so my wife or our friend can install their DeLorme mount as I have on the left side. The switch shuts down power to both usb ports, but both factory power ports are constantly alive. I chose a switch with a red LED indicator as both usb port covers complete hide the indicator lights.

Another project complete!
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Old 08-27-2016, 07:05 PM   #2
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Those are nice.
I put one on each side of the bed and one outside in the J-panel under the awning.

The blue lights are the perfect brightness in a dark bedroom to see where I'm going.
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Old 08-27-2016, 08:34 PM   #3
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Bruce, that looks really good. I was thinking about doing the same on my rig. Where did you get the USB plugs from? Did you add the 110v plug in the dash? Mine doesn't have that, just a blank plate.
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Old 08-28-2016, 12:36 AM   #4
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The USB plugs are available on Aamazon (intentional mis-spelling), and my son, who works at CarQuest, states they are available in his store as well (after I got them from Aamazon).
The 110VAC connection is factory. I thas two connectors on the back with 2 wires each; apparently the inverter is built into the chassis elsewhere. The connectors have black/green, and white/blue. Not sure what the blue is for...

I'm in the process of mounting my 300W PSW inverter to the back of the pedestal under the passenger seat, and will route 8 gauge wire to the battery box.
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Old 08-28-2016, 06:45 AM   #5
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brucemc, I assume what you installed is something similar to this?

https://www.amazon.com/BlueFire%C2%A...b+car+adapters

I like the switch; can you provide a link?
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Old 08-28-2016, 10:00 AM   #6
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Here's the red one:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And the blue:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I found the switch at a local Oregon/Washington variety store: Bi-Mart.
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:02 PM   #7
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They did basically the same thing on the ford chassis as well, the ford comes with 2 standard 12v power ports on the dash that are powered all the time no matter if the key is on or off so I took an idea from a fellow rv'er and remover the factory coin tray and installed a flat aluminum panel that he had made and had left over and I installed a 12v outlet, a dual USB port and a digital volt meter to monitor the voltage output of the alternator and wired them to a key ignition source. I also installed a 12v plug and dual USB charger on the Wifes side of the bed as well.

I wish ford would have used some of the dash space for a 110 outlet like the Chevy has, those come in handy!
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:41 PM   #8
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We had the old design Ford dash in our 2000 Four Winds, which didn't have any room for these kind of mods. I see the current design still incorporates the same switch set for AC/Heat, and has the same steering wheel/column.

We had a minimalist doghouse storage tray, so that was one of the first things we replaced on that unit. It was similar to yours, only without the woodgrain accents.

At least the newer Ford dash has a spot to mod! Good work.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucemc View Post
We had the old design Ford dash in our 2000 Four Winds, which didn't have any room for these kind of mods. I see the current design still incorporates the same switch set for AC/Heat, and has the same steering wheel/column.

We had a minimalist doghouse storage tray, so that was one of the first things we replaced on that unit. It was similar to yours, only without the woodgrain accents.

At least the newer Ford dash has a spot to mod! Good work.
Thanks, yes its my understanding that ford hasn't really done any major changes to the E-series chassis except for cosmetic updates since the early 2000's so not much has changed but I've added a hd sway bar in the front and about to add a reflex steering dampener and eventually the rear hd sway bar but beings this is our first motorhome I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by the way it handles.

I see you have a scan gauge II do you find it usefull?
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:14 AM   #10
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I had this ScanGaugeII in the Ford as it didn't have a tach, but I also monitored water temp, instant and average MPG, though occasionally I'd watch the incoming air temp or voltage or whatever struck my fancy at the moment. I verified the ford temp gauge was nothing more than an idiot needle - it would come up to a certain point, but then would never move. I watched the actual water temperature swing by 20 degrees despite a static indicator.

The ScanGauge is slightly less useful in the Chevy as the tach is one of the selections, but the factory digital readout is in 100 rpm increments, where the ScanGauge is in 1 rpm increments. I also like to compare the average MPG with the dash selection - and surprisingly, it's pretty accurate. The options for the locations of the ScanGauge on the Chevy makes it a bit harder to read, however, due to the angle of the display.

I have another one in the 2012 Canyon as well - as GM didn't provide a user interface to the mileage and other indicators that are available via ODBII. The device is useful for reading any error codes, and resetting the Check Engine light for that transient error message. I used to get transient errors on the Ford, but have yet to see an error on the Chevy. Yet, we only have 5K miles, where we started out with just under 3K on the clock when we took delivery.

After using the ScanGaugeII in several vehicles, I wouldn't be without one. There are other options such as apps for a smart phone, but I'd rather have a dedicated/hardwired readout than "yet another app".
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